MY ENTIRE LIFE, I wished I could play the piano.
But opportunity never presented itself. Or more like limited finances never allowed for purchase of a piano or piano lessons. When you grow up in a large family without much money, piano lessons miss the budget. And when there are farm chores, time does not allow for piano lessons.
To this day, I cannot play a single musical instrument or read a note.
But I appreciate music and what a group of Mason City High School students, through Youth Investing Energy in Leadership Development (YIELD), have brought to their northeastern Iowa community via “Tunes for the Town.”
Through this project, students painted four donated pianos which were then placed around Mason City in May. On a recent visit there, I discovered one of those public pianos outside Southbridge Mall in the downtown Plaza. The other three are located in Central Park, near KCMR radio’s studio and inside The Music Man Square.
This public piano project is especially fitting for Mason City, birthplace of “The Music Man” composer, Meredith Willson.
On this quiet Sunday afternoon, my husband, Randy, and friend, Beth Ann, who lives in Mason City and served as our tour guide, uncovered the piano.
Then Randy pounded out some simple beginner’s tune and determined the piano needs tuning. His dad played piano and organ and even an accordion, before he lost his hand in a farming accident. But even after the accident, my father-in-law still tuned pianos.
No concert was performed that Sunday afternoon in the Plaza. But my unheard applause rings for those high school students and “Tunes for the Town.”
FYI: The pianos are locked at night and, as you can see, are covered to protect them from the weather. They will be moved indoors this winter.
A 22-year-old Des Moines man pled guilty recently to felony criminal mischief after he flipped and destroyed one of the pianos earlier this year. That piano has since been replaced.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling